This story originally appeared on RNZ and has been republished with permission

Army personnel from Burnham Camp have been deployed to Ashburton to assist with potential evacuations caused by the flooding in the region.

Thousands of homes are at risk of flooding if the Ashburton River breaks its banks as a ‘code red’ storm hits the region. Rescue crews have recovered multiple people trapped by floodwaters, while the Timaru and Ashburton districts have declared a state of emergency for seven days.

The New Zealand Defence Force says personnel in three trucks and an ambulance had been deployed to Ashburton to help out.

A spokesperson confirmed to RNZ News that two NH90 helicopters have also deployed to Christchurch to be available if required.

Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi says while authorities were keeping an eye on multiple rivers in the area, the Ashburton River is the main concern and 3000 homes are at risk.

Where to go for official updates

Remember, always call 111 if you think your life or the lives of others are in danger.

These sites contain flooding updates for Canterbury areas, including emergency notices, road closures, river flow, flooding warnings and places to get more information:

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